A Long and Rambling Update

Date September 30, 2007

While I was fiddling around with putting together documentation for Julie as to how to post updates to this blog, I re-realized that there is a feature in the tool I use that allows blog posts fairly simply (apparently — we’ll see) through e-mail. Not only will this sort of feature seem old hat to the masses within a few years, but it will also seem hard to imagine that, while I can compose this update while sitting in an airplane at 30,000 feet, I won’t be able to actually send it until I’m back on the ground and in range of a wireless network. But, the wired world is not perfect just yet (and, yes, I know there are many who would consider always being “wired” anything but desirable — but, since my mother will now be spending countless Maine evenings hunkered down in her car outside the Rangeley public library so she can feed her e-mail addiction at crack levels — free wi-fi — rather than the mere marijuana levels that she gets at the cabin via dial-up, I can’t help but think that always-on, always-connected will be always-expected before we know it

Working backwards from my current position 30,000 feet in the air en route from Detroit to Austin.

First off, when checking in for the flight, I went through my ritual “check for better seats” (Northwest didn’t have the ability to do this from home, as far as I could tell). I was already in an exit row on the Columbus-Detroit leg, so no change. For Detroit-Austin, I wasn’t in an exit row, but I was in a seat that looked to have a vacancy next to it. On my last flight (Continental), the exit rows didn’t have any more leg room than the regular coach seats. So, this go around, I rolled the dice and stayed where I was. Bad call. I’m cramped, I have someone sitting next to me, and the exit rows have considerably more leg room! Lesson learned…

The Wilson Household just wrapped up the second of three consecutive weekends with company. My parents passed through en route to Maine last weekend. Julie’s mother drove in from Virginia this past Thursday, and then her brother, his wife, and their two kids came down on Friday from Akron. Once again, we were struck by how much easier it is to manage company in a house that has more than two bathrooms.

Next weekend, Julie’s cousin, Anne, will be visiting from Cleveland with her two sons. Anne’s husband is on call next weekend, and I’m sticking around Austin for the weekend to attend the 12th annual Columbus Day Party! at Camp Ben McCullough. So, it looked like a good weekend for Julie and Anne to get together with the kids. After that, though, I think we’re going to take a weekend or two off on the company front!

During my parents’ visit, my dad and I knocked out a number of honey-do-type projects, and we got a good start on a me-do project: building a workbench for my workshop. It’s a modified design of what Greg Phelps and I built for his basement in Chicago. The main change was that I made it taller so that it can work as a support table for my miter saw, while also giving me a work area that is comfortable to stand at — 42” is a much more comfortable working height for me than 36”. The design is sufficiently heavy duty that it could double as a bomb shelter, I think, which is…well…cool! Here and there over the past week, I managed to get it mostly finished up. By the time I left this afternoon, it was down to just needing the edges of the top routed with a roundover bit, and then I need to screw the top to the base. 30 minutes, and I’ll be done. At that point, I’ll be ready to post pictures of the workshop. To date, I’ve: run a new 220V circuit for my table saw, run a new 110V circuit with 3 fourplex outlets throughout the workshop, installed pegboard in 3 locations, and re-routed the drain on the A/C unit to accommodate rolling my table saw under the stairs without risking crushing the drain.

Kid Update

Still holding firm at three. ;-)

Carson: After being given a couple of Yugio cards (that’s phonetic; I assume I’m butchering the spelling, but I can’t check offline), became obsessed with getting his own starter set, which he spent some of his money to order. If you’re not familiar (and, truth be told, I’m not all that familiar), Yugio is sort of a combination of two popular male pastimes from my youth: marbles and Dungeons & Dragons. Kids build up their sets of Yugio cards. Each card represents a fantasy character of some sort – each character has different powers and strengths. The goal is to get others’ cards. So, through playing a wildly complex game where the cards face off against each other and do battle, you win or lose your cards. The “marbles” part is that it’s an on-going thing. You can sit down and play for 30 minutes or an hour, and then walk off with whatever cards you’ve won (and without the ones you’ve lost) and pick up another game some time later with someone else. Julie thought Carson might be happy to just play with the cards…but he actually wants to learn the game. Julie quickly realized a problem: no one else in our house has Yugio cards, so he has to loan us some of his in order to play.

Still on Carson, and still on the gaming front…Carson challenged my dad to a game of chess while my parents were in town. I didn’t know Carson knew how to play chess. My dad didn’t know how to play chess, but he gamely jumped into the instructions that Benton had printed out from the internet. The good news was that Carson didn’t get wildly upset when he lost. Not that that phase is entirely passed. I did a little fast card-swapping during a game of Sorry! with Carson and his cousin, Tyler, to prevent myself from coming from way behind and beating Carson after he was on the cusp of victory. It just wasn’t worth the risk! Tyler won a game straight-up and Carson didn’t have a problem with it, which was good.

Benton : Benton has found a good friend who is in his class at school and lives in the neighborhood (close enough that Julie and the kids rode their bikes over one afternoon). Conveniently, Colin has a younger brother, Evan, who is in kindergarten — not in Carson’s class, but same school and same afternoon schedule. They also have a sister who has dance lessons on Thursday afternoons, so it’s looking like a regular occurrence will be for the boys to get off at our bus stop and play for an hour or so — saves their mother a bunch of shuttling around, and keeps our kids happy!

Benton is struggling with some of his on-going homework assignments. He has to keep a “math log” and log 80 minutes of math work that he does in his everyday life. The rules are pretty loose — making a batch of cookies counts because of the measuring out of the ingredients, counting how many seconds he can balance on a big green exercise ball in the back yard (a game invented in conjunction with his cousins) counts because it’s counting. You get the idea. Benton-the-anal-rules-interpreter, though, struggles. For instance, if he’s counting how long people are staying on the green exercise ball, he says he can’t count the 15 solid minutes they were playing the game — he feels like he can only count the time where he was counting seconds. In other words, Benton could spend 3 hours scoring a baseball game and insist that it was only 10 minutes of math, because that was the amount of time he spent recording balls and strikes.

This doesn’t stop him from pitching a fit when it’s 15 minutes past his bedtime and he hasn’t done his math yet. Julie’s been turning this back to him — making suggestions during the day, and when Benton balks at them, saying, “Well, fine, but you’re not staying up late tonight to do something. You can take an incomplete.”

"Yeah, Tim, so how’s that working out for ya’?”

Alana: Alana is, of course, still cute as a button. We’ve now made our second father-daughter trip to Walgreen’s for her to pick out new nail polish. She is an incredibly decisive shopper. And she knows where the nail polish is. Fortunately, Walgreen’s doesn’t have the pricey stuff down at 2-year-old level. We also moved on from painting just her toenails to also painting her fingernails. She sits surprisingly still for the exercise. Her collection now includes: red, purple, and blue. We haven’t applied the blue yet

Sadly, Alana has pretty much given up giving me hugs on demand. Or giving me hugs at all. I’m pretty sure she’s just a burgeoning economist, and she’s exploring the demand curve for her affections. I still get high fives from her fairly consistently on demand at no charge, but I have a sneaking suspicion she may be the first 2-year-old with her own credit card within a few months.

Alana has also semi-officially given up her afternoon naps (“semi-“ because neither Julie nor I want to completely give up hope just yet). This is not a great thing for 2-year-old, but she seems to hold up okay, and is starting to go down fairly well in the evenings. She also sleeps in in the mornings so, hopefully, is getting enough sleep. She is prone to busting out the ABCs song (all the way through, “…next time won’t you sing with me?!”), and she has taken to wanting to read books to herself. Her current favorite is A Good Night Walk (“by Elisha Cooper!” Alana always says), but she is also fond of a book about a pig who walks around to different farm animals asking if they like her. They all rattle off different things about the pig they like. Alana “reads” that book out loud cover to cover and does a pretty good job of sticking to the correct narrative. It’s a stitch.

We’ll try to get some updated pictures up one of these days. Again, the technology (or the technology that we have) isn’t quite to the point of making that seamless. Yet.

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